I wouldn't really be so quick to doubt the guy who has seen 5 broken down. Maybe not at the same time, but here and there, I could call his observation valid. I've seen quite a few break down, which is a nightmare if you are an owner.
I do not know where some of the other reviewers before me get off with the "anti-hybrid propaganda by the oil companies"; Are they comfy? No different from any other car. Are they practical and economical in the long run? Simply put: NO. And I don't just say that because of the often clueless new owner's smug look on his/her face when they drive off the lot with a shiny new hybrid. It's the lack of do-it-yourself simplicity that often we "other people" do not like. Granted, cars today are a lot more complicated than they were 20 years ago (to the point where they have no "soul" in my opinion), but the Prius takes the idea of relative simplicity and tosses it down the toilet with a huge warranty.
I don't outwardly "hate" hybrids, but I do not like the impression that comes with them. Not to be a conspiracy theorist or anything, but since somebody threw in "anti-hybrid propaganda by the oil companies" stuff, I feel I should say this. When you drive a Prius, unless you are a Toyota-employed hybrid repair wizard, you will not be able to repair the cost cut "state of the art" electric engines by yourself with old fashioned skill and know-how when they inevitably go bad, and Toyota-employed hybrid wizards come at the price of a small fortune.
As for the precious 8 year warranty, what about afterwards? I do not know about other Americans, but I want my cars to last 10-20 years, and not be a disposable waste of money. This is why I will NEVER drive a hybrid, and talk my friends out of doing so. It is like owning a newer model Mercedes Benz. If you can't afford to keep it running, DO NOT BUY IT!
I currently own an 1991 Ford Festiva, and I get MUCH better mileage AND performance than the Prius (50+ mpg? Right...) and have taken cars like mine apart with as little as 6 sockets, a few wrenches and a big screwdriver, and they are known to last over 400,000 miles.
Other small, reliable, economical cars are the Mazda 323, Toyota Paseo and Tercel, Nissan Sentra, and even the old VW Rabbits.
I understand that the economy is not in good shape, and it is laudable to look for an economical car, but there are better choices. If you want something fun, inexpensive, economical, and trouble-free with simple routine maintenance, look elsewhere. There are much wiser "green" choices.
...and don't even get me started on the Smart Car...
I'm not sure why people still make such a big deal about hybrids. The fact of the matter is that the Prius has been around since 1997. That's almost 16 years ago. So they're hardly what you would call "new" technology. Even the notion of a hybrid drivetrain is nothing new, with variations of it being around for well over 100 years. Diesel-electric freight trains come to mind.
Are people that drive them smug and self-righteous? As a Prius owner myself, I've never felt that way. It's just a car like any other, except it happens to have a drivetrain that's different from some of the others. This is simply a conversation about technology. Putting it into perspective, if "new" technology is supposedly something to scorn - as some do with cars like the Prius - then why didn't people also feel the same about such monumental feats of automotive engineering like electronic fuel injection, onboard computer controlled engine and drivetrain management systems, air bags, unibody construction and piezoelectric diesel injectors?
Lastly, why would a Prius or another hybrid not be any more or less reliable than a conventional car? Ours is now 11 years old, and has provided a reliable, satisfactory service to us on our rather long daily commute. If the concern is over the main battery, well it - along with any other automotive component - doesn't have an absolute failure or success rate. Some of these batteries fail at around 150,000, while some have gone on for 300,000+ miles. Putting that into perspective, would it be a good thing if a conventional car's transmission made it to 250,000 miles? Sure. But in many cases they fail prematurely. Any car carries the risk of potential malfunction and that's something most people accept. Cars wear out. That' a given. Yet when it comes to the Prius battery, people seem to think they should last forever and ever, and thus if they don't, then the car must surely be a lemon. Even IF the battery does fail, there are now many companies that re-manufacture these for a fraction of the cost new.
But anyway, the Prius is just a car. It gets you from point A to B, costs about the same as any other medium sized sedan, and does so fairly reliably. Not sure what the issue is.
I have a lot of friends buying motorcycles. I get 40 mpg, and enjoy the ride and performance. I take some back scenic routes to work. A lot of company parking lots have more and more bikes. I have a 5 gallon tank, and it goes a long way. On bad weather days, I can drive a car. I am not a hybrid fan, but still conserve fuel.
If you can get high respectable mileage without a Hybrid, and avoid the battery issues altogether, why not?
I like to maintain my own vehicles as much as possible. If I can take a late model car to Auto Zone for example, and get a free diagnostic and buy their parts, it's something I can do. I can stop there or a Napa, buy 1 battery and install it myself for under $100. What about the hybrid batteries that run in a Prius?
Also I have yet to buy a single trans in 40 years of driving. A trans service fluid and filter is inexpensive every 50000 miles.
I will go off topic and mention the Fisker battery model at over 80k that has had some issues lately.
I still would prefer a conventional drivetrain with fluid changes, all filters, tires and brakes, vs a big hit when battery replacements occur on an economy vehicle. Not everyone has a large cash unexpected outlay with this type of repair. Some are OK with monthly car payments, not just a huge maintenance replacement if kept. I would not call this a do it yourself job.
My friend traded her Prius in at 70,000 miles, and went with a 2012 Mazda 6. I am not knocking it being an import; it's just battery concerns, and that would apply equally as well if domestic. We have mixed ownership as well.
The Prius has been on the market since 1997. Taxicabs in NY and California have 300,000 miles + on the ORIGINAL hybrid battery. They do NOT fail every 3-5 years, that's propaganda, and anything you believe in that sense is definitely confirmation bias.
The Prius hybrid battery is under warranty for 8 years and 150,000 miles in CARB states (California, and a handful of others), and if you aren't in a CARB state, it's 7 years and 100,000 miles.
When and if the battery ever does go bad - and it's unlikely to - they are easily rebuildable for $30 a cell, or a whole rebuilt battery for $895.
With 5 moving parts in the Prius transmission, those failures are very low too. But tell me - how many miles are you going to get out of the automatic transmission on your non-hybrid, and how much will it cost to get a rebuilt one? Yeah, probably about 2-3 times the cost of a Prius hybrid battery!!